7 week Unit on “The First First Family”
The stories of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Esau
Below are the lesson notes and outlines for teaching a unit about Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob & Esau. It was part of my email newsletter to our customers in May 2012 and based on a summer Sunday School I did a few years ago. Two of its main resources are Sunday Software’s Abraham and Sarah, and Awesome Bible Stories.
Both of these software programs are now FREE to the members of Rotation.org. Learn more.
In addition to the two computer lab lessons listed below, there are three video lesson suggestions, an art lesson, and a game lesson. Depending on how long your class time is, you could combine some of the lessons. You can easily cherry-pick from these 7 lessons to just cover the stories you need.
Each lesson begins with a short Bible study (which I leave up to you) and end with questions for reflection, which I’ve included.
Why “First Family“?
You might argue that Adam and Eve were “the first family”, or Noah’s family, –but Abraham and Sarah are considered as the “founders” of our faith because God made his specific Covenant with THEM. I’m also playing on the U.S. tradition of calling our President and his/her family “The First Family”. Abraham was the father of our faith nation, thus, his family is the “1st First Family.” You’re welcome to change the title.
Week 1: Video
For Call/Covenant, use the first part of Abraham on DVD, –the classic movie starring Richard Harris. Published under several distributors, this is often called the “TNT” production for the tv network it was first produced for. Dramatic and realistic. Preview and play as much as you have time for, including some preview and post-view discussion.
Week 2: Computer Lab
Abraham and Sarah CD (one or two weeks of use) (use the worksheets and outline for that CD)
Week 3: Family Sands Art Lesson
Using the story’s Covenant “sand” and “stars” metaphors, your students create a beach-scene wall display, and/or a glow-in-the-dark “take home” starry sky. The beach scene can be as simple as sand glued to paper, with student names written in glue then sprinkled with colored sand to make a display. Include other Bible characters, including Jesus on the beach. Add shells and starfish. Or…design your beach as a real beach boxed on a tabletop, with seashells that have been labeled with the character’s names and student names (which they can later take home), and the words of the covenant written above them in sand (drawn in glue and sprinkled with color sand), and stars hanging above with names of members of your church. The stars in the sky can be letters cut out of glow-in-the-dark contact paper (or letter kits) and stuck to a clear 1′ x 2′ sheet of flexible plastic, such as one cut from a clear shower curtain that can be hung from the ceiling. The kids spell out a phrase from the story’s meaning, such as, “I am Part of God’s Plan”, or “I am One of God’s Stars”.
Week 4: The Family Trip Game Lesson
Create a large floor board game map of various locations in the Abraham story. Use colored tape to mark locations and a roundabout gametrack through the wilderness from Ur to Canaan (I used vinyl tape because it comes up easier). Assemble 30 questions about the entire Abraham story and have pairs of students compete to advance across the board. It’s okay if they repeat. Either role a big die to move 1,2,3 spaces (or lose turn) or spin a spinner. Include bonus questions and ‘loose faith pitfall squares’ and such. Include info about modern day locations in the Middle East that correspond to Biblical locations. include definition question about words such as “faith” and “covenant.”
Depending on your class and group size and age range, this could be a ‘game center’ or workshop that each class rotates into at some point during your 5 to 7 weeks. This would allow you to adjust the game questions for age appropriateness. Or it could be the LAST CLASS for all your groups to play as one big gameshow –if your numbers are small.
Week 5: Video
View the entire 30 minute animated video: Abraham & Isaac DVD, from Nest.
Week 6: Video: “The Story of Jacob & Esau“
View the first half of the DVD titled “The Story of Jacob and Joseph” –which covers Jacob and Esau. See preview on youtube. The first half runs 60 minutes, so either split it into two videos over two weeks or be prepared to advance if your class time is short. Faithful to the story and is kid-friendly. (Distributed by Sony as part of their “Bible Stories”). See Vision Video’s free teaching outline and questions for this movie.
Week 7: Computer Lab
Use the Jacob & Esau story found in Awesome Bible Stories CD (use the worksheets and outline for that CD)
Optional Joe Addition:
If you want to keep going into the Joseph Story, take a look at our Joseph’s Story CD!
You are welcome to use these lessons for non commercial teaching purposes and may repost them on the web provided this source page, links and author remain with the information. Neil MacQueen is a Presbyterian minister, Christian educator and owner of Sunday Software Inc.